Time to spill the tea about what’s been going on with NYCHA activism !

Some real talk about NYCHA “activist groups”

It’s time boil your water and to seep your tea. We are gathering by Zoom on Wednesday afternoon to drink some hot tea and share some real talk about NYCHA activism.

Zoom Information

Date : Wed., 08-Sept.
Time : 5 pm
Zoom link : https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7033053210?pwd=UkdrRHZNSlc0elNKcjJpaG5SdG9Odz09
Zoom passcode : NYCHA

Updated

We revealed some of the names of activists and groups, which we believe are protecting Mayor Bill de Blasio from criticism, as well as describing general conditions that lead to ineffective activism. The speaker panel included Melanie Aucello and Cynthia Tibbs, with Louis Flores as moderator. Some NYCHA tenants provided input near the end. Please share and comment.

Fight For NYCHA Zoom – Spill the Tea – 8 Sept 2021

Schumer broke a promise to put public housing funding into the Infrastructure Bill. Now, he risks breaking a second promise about the Budget Reconciliation.

Is Majority Leader Charles Schumer going to betray the New Deal promise of public housing ?

Members of Fight For NYCHA were present at the 18 April press conference, where Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) promised to put $80 billion in funding for public housing into the President’s Infrastructure Bill. Sen. Schumer said that the initial proposal of $40 billion that President Joseph Biden (D) had suggested was too low and that the increase would allow NYCHA to receive the $40 billion it needed to complete the backlog of capital repairs that have been used as an excuse by Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) to sell-out NYCHA with RAD/PACT, infill development, and air rights sales.

However, after President Biden gave the keys to the Kingdom to Senate Republicans, they succeeded in watering-down the Infrastructure Bill, leaving no money for public housing. None ! That meant that, as of 24 June, once the GOP compromise was detailed by the White House, Sen. Schumer’s first lie was exposed.

We need the $40 billion that is owed to the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, for capital repair funding in order to stop the privatization of public housing. We need to save Section 9 housing.

Even though President Biden closed the door on the Infrastructure Bill negotiations, Sen. Schumer has continued to advocate for $80 billion for public housing in “infrastructure” spending, including at a 23 July photo-op at the Oceanside Houses in Far Rockaway, Queens. But the Infrastructure Bill was already closed to negotiations. What Sen. Schumer not being honest with us ?

There is a corrupt bait and switch going on, and public housing residents will pay for it in higher rents, threats of evictions, and violations of their civil rights.

Since there’s been no money for public housing, unscrupulous politicians, like Mayor de Blasio, are using Section 8 conversions under RAD/PACT and the proposed Blueprint scheme to end Section 9 housing. This effectively ends the New Deal promise of public housing, which was for the Government to admit that it had a role in providing safe and sanitary housing to people at low-cost. What is happening now is that corrupt politicians are using the Section 8 rental assistance voucher programme to replace Section 9, something that was never intended to occur when Section 8 vouchers were first created.

The RAD/PACT scheme that Mayor de Blasio has been promoting leads to higher rents, higher risks of evictions, and violations of tenants’ civil rights. It’s a bad deal that tenants need to reject, and Sen. Schumer knows that.

Now, Sen. Schumer is promising us the public housing funding in the Budget Reconciliation, but that comes with strings attached, like we can’t demand forensic audits of public housing authorities, and we can’t repeal the Faircloth Amendment that caps the construction of new public housing. We’re scared that politicians will use these limitations to either accelerate Section 8 conversions, or do something worse, like end all Section 9 housing in one fell swoop.

Because Sen. Schumer’s office has begun to use parliamentary rules that stem from the filibuster to qualify that public housing funding can’t come with greater tenant protections, this puts public housing residents at-risk for bad leases, increased costs, and evictions. As a result, we increasingly feel that H.R.235 — the bill to fully-fund public housing — should be passed as a standalone bill after it has been increased to guarantee $40 billion to NYCHA to save Section 9 housing and amended to include forensic audit requirements, a repeal of the Faircloth Amendment, education and jobs programs for public housing residents, a repeal of Section 8 conversion schemes, including RAD/PACT, and a provision that any disposition of public housing assets be subjected to the local community approval process that is in effect in each Municipal jurisdiction. This would stop the privatization of public housing.

Since Sen. Schumer doesn’t inspire confidence, we have begun to flyer about these truths, because we are tired of Sen. Schumer coming up short. If he doesn’t pass H.R. 235 as a standalone bill in a way that does not permit Section 8 vouchers to replace Section 9 housing, we will begin to work with anyone, even the DSA, to see that Sen. Schumer is primaried in the 2022 Midterms. As much as we distrust the DSA, we know that they are focused only on self-interest, as is AOC. They only think of opportunism, self-promotion, and expediency. “Power can be beautiful,” AOC said to CNN for her new 2022 Midterms fundraising infomercial, in which she herself doesn’t rule out a primary challenge to Sen. Schumer. That’s a mighty powerful convergence of forces that Sen. Schumer would have to overcome.

New York has become a battleground for a new Democratic Party, where Christine Quinn, Joseph Crowley, Eliot Engel, Corey Johnson, and Jimmy Van Bramer have seen their political careers come to an end after people reached their limits with being sold out. Now, Sen. Schumer gets to decide if he faces the same prospect.

If Sen. Charles Schumer doesn’t save Section 9 public housing, will voters will serve an “Eviction Notice” on him in the 2021 Midterms ?

Scott Stringer is a Liar Liar Privatizer !

For letting Mayor de Blasio keep trying to sellout NYCHA with RAD/PACT and the Blueprint, Scott Stringer was called a “Liar Liar Privatizer !”

Members of the coälition NYCHA Is Not For Sale protested outside the luxury condo apartment building where Comptroller Scott Stringer (D-New York City) lives, drawing attention to his failures and public betrayals after having held various Government offices for decades. The protest took place on Tuesday at 25 Broad Street, at a luxury condo conversion of a former office building in the Financial District.

Chief amongst the accusations hurled by activists was Comptroller Stringer’s failure to conduct a forensic audit of the use of funding by the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA. Several NYCHA resident leaders have been calling or such an audit. Comptroller Stringer has had eight years of power and authority to conduct or order such an audit, but he has failed to do so. That failure has cost NYCHA credibility in the eyes of the public, and amongst its own residents, because the public and residents believe that NYCHA is used as a corrupt patronage mill for the mayor and the possible source of corrupt Government contracts for political insiders.

The activists confronted Comptroller Stringer outside his luxury condo apartment building, and he didn’t deign to address any of the concerns posed by the activists, and he never once vocalised why he believed he was qualified to serve as mayor after decades of a failed record and public betrayals.

NYCHA Is Not for Sale confronts Scott Stringer

A career of failures and public betrayals.

The activists made a second, major accusation against Comptroller Stringer, alleging that he approved of the RAD/PACT sell-out of Fulton Houses, Elliott Houses, and Chelsea Houses in Manhattan under the guidance of Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City). Comptroller Stringer’s office also participated in the mayor’s corrupt NYCHA Working Group that fabricated consent for the RAD/PACT conversion of all public housing in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. During the demonstration, the activists unfurled a street-wide banner that read, “Scott Stringer Liar Liar Privatizer.”

Prior to serving as New York City’s top financial watchdog, Comptroller Stringer served as Manhattan Borough President. At a 2011 town hall on the need for a full-service, Level I Trauma Hospital to replace St. Vincent’s Hospital, then Borough President Stringer said he believed that the finances of St. Vincent’s should have been investigated. But he never followed up on that, much less on the long, overdue, equivalent demand by public housing residents of NYCHA.

One day before the protest against Comptroller Stringer, the NYCHA Is Not For Sale coälition endorsed Joycelyn Taylor for New York City mayor in the 2021 Democratic Party Primary.

Video

Bill de Blasio’s Five Biggest Lies about RAD/PACT and Blueprint at NYCHA

Bill de Blasio is a Liar, Liar, Privatizer !

LIE # 1 : NYCHA has no money for repairs.

FACT : We don’t need RAD/PACT or the Blueprint. Sen. Charles Schumer supports H.R.235, a House bill that when updated would provide $80 billion this year to public housing nation-wide, of which $40 billion would pay for all the repairs at NYCHA. We don’t have to sell-out public housing !

LIE # 2 : Your rights are protected.

FACT : NYCHA isn’t telling you that they are deliberately moving everybody from Section 9 to Section 8 so that everybody gets weaker tenant rights. For example, you lose rights to mold repairs and protections under the Baez case after the judge approved lower-tier rights. The RAD/PACT Landlords profit this way.

LIE # 3 : You won’t get evicted, you’re safe.

FACT : At the very first RAD/PACT conversion, over 80 households were evicted. You have no access to the Federal Monitor, so nobody will investigate civil rights violations. The new Leases are rigged, you could end up paying for utilities and costs, and you are shown no mercy at Housing Court.

LIE # 4 : You still have tenant participation.

FACT : Tenant participation doesn’t mean anything, because you don’t have any say in the wording of the Leases, the House Rules, or the fines. The RAD/PACT Landlords are private sector landlords, and the last thing they want is tenants, who think they have a say in building management.

LIE # 5 : The new kitchen cabinets are worth it.

FACT : You will live with unsafe construction, like dust from lead paint and holes in walls. Of course, repairs are long-overdue, but these cosmetic changes aren’t enough. You lose elevator access during construction, and you lose all supportive services, like job training, that NYCHA used to provide.

A recovery in New York City most certainly not for us

The call by Mayor Bill de Blasio to reopen the economy, now being rushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, promises a return to the discriminatory power dynamic and social hierarchy of the past.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) went on State media on Thursday morning to announce by authoritarian dictate that the economy will be fully reopened in New York City by July 1, 2021. “We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength,” the mayor said, according to the City-provided transcript of his on-air remarks.

A fully-reopened economy will mean that the Government can stop providing assistance to compensate people for the racial disparities that were revealed in glaring detail by the Coronavirus pandemic, namely, how the profit-driven healthcare system tolerates racial disparities in healthcare outcomes for people. It means that the free healthcare (the free Coronavirus testing and the free Coronavirus vaccines) will come to an end. It means that the emergency food banks that have been providing people with nutrition due to the rise in joblessness will come to an end. It means that the extensions of unemployment assistance will come to an end. It means that the emergency shelter being provided to people without homes will come to an end. There’s only one goal Mayor de Blasio has : “We’re going to keep driving down COVID through vaccinations.”

On the way to delivering these free vaccinations, Mayor de Blasio has conveniently forgotten about the lip service he paid to racial disparities that were exposed during his two terms in office. In March, the mayor announced the formation of a racial justice commission that was supposed to replace the racial justice commission he had announced last year and which was never formed. Damn the racial justice commission reports, at this point, the mayor just wants to reopen the economy. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) was made jealous enough to call for a reopening sooner than July 1.

There’s no thought to end the systemic racism in our society. Even with the healthcare disparities made clear during the Coronavirus pandemic, that didn’t stop Gov. Cuomo from cutting Medicaid, and it hasn’t stopped him from trying to close still yet more hospitals in Brooklyn or Queens. In terms of business, corporate retail giants, like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, saw online sales skyrocket as local, small businesses were forced to close due to the pandemic. The politicians are focused on returning us to an economy with even more disturbing economic inequalities, including higher rates of poverty.

This is one test that reveals how wedded Mayor de Blasio is to systemic racism : His non-stop scheme for RAD/PACT and Blueprint conversions of NYCHA public housing.

Even though Mayor de Blasio was left unindicted following a wide-ranging, Federal corruption investigation into his campaign finance activities and even though Gov. Cuomo faces another round of corruption investigations coupled with an independent counsel investigation into sexual harassment allegations that are, collectively, the subject of an impeachment inquiry, they are the ones making decisions affecting our lives.

Already, a group of New York City parents and teachers filed a lawsuit last December to stop compulsory Coronavirus testing over Fourth Amendment privacy rights, including concerns that DNA samples may wind up in a database without patients’ consent, according to a report published by Gothamist. And Saturday, dozens of municipal employees protested Mayor de Blasio’s demand that 80,000 City workers return to office work this week, according to a report published by the New York Daily News. The mayor’s obsession with reopening the economy flies in the face of the relentless Coronavirus pandemic, which, world-wide, has reached a new peak of deaths and cases, according to a CBS News report broadcast on Sunday.

Of particular concern to New York City Housing Authority residents is Mayor de Blasio’s non-stop push to continue the privatisation of strategic public housing assets. Despite no basis in law, the Government has countenanced Mayor de Blasio’s failure to hold public meetings about his scheme for the the RAD/PACT conversion of public housing. For example, on April 23, the de Blasio administration announced the issuance of a Request For Proposal for the RAD/PACT conversion of the Fulton Houses, Elliott Houses, and Chelsea Houses — the last hold-outs of affordable housing in the gentrified Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea.

Despite resident and community opposition, Mayor de Blasio acts like he cannot be stopped from disposing public assets — even when confronted with a very public effort by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) to fully-fund the backlog of capital repairs across the Nation’s entire public housing stock. U.S. Rep. Velázquez and Sen. Schumer are basically teaming up to promise to end the decades of racist divestment of public housing, but Mayor de Blasio is more concerned with making sure that the economic gears resume their grinding of people of colour and people living with low incomes.

The de Blasio administration suspects that human remains and cultural items belonging to Native American tribes may be buried underneath Williamsburg Houses, but that still didn’t stop him from moving forward with RAD/PACT, in violation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Whether you are dead or alive, Mayor de Blasio believes that the privatisation of our heritage must go on.

March to stop RAD/PACT/Blueprint conversions

NYCHA has admitted in Federal Court that they want to abandon their obligations to public housing residents after RAD/PACT/Blueprint conversions. This is unacceptable ! Please join our march to stop anymore privatisation of public housing.

We are planning a protest march to stop Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC) and NYCHA from abandoning their obligations to public housing residents after RAD/PACT/Blueprint conversion. It has been revealed in the Federal class-action Baez case that the de Blasio administration is using privatisation as an excuse to walk away from environmental protections and basic responsibilities they owe public housing residents. This is unacceptable ! Please join the social movement to save public housing and to fight for your civil rights ! We need your participation.

At our protest march, we will call-out politicians, who betrayed their campaign promises or continue the neglect.

Date : Sun., March 21, 2021

Time : 12 Noon (start-time)

Place : 344 E. 28th St., Manhattan

Accessibility : We meet outside of the front doors at 344 East 28th Street, Manhattan. Get ready to make noise and plan to march about 30 blocks. If you need transportation, we will try to arrange limited car pools by taxi. We can only pay for taxi service from what we can raise through our Go Fund Me for supplies expense. Please make a donation to support this march.

Rain Day : If it rains, we hold our march the following day — on Monday, Mar. 22 at 12 noon.

Mayoral Forum on NYCHA

Join us for a Mayoral Forum on NYCHA. We will address RAD and the Blueprint.

Fight For NYCHA are hosting a Zoom forum of the 2021 New York City mayoral candidates on the issues facing residents of the New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”), like the Rental Assistant Demonstration scheme (“RAD”) and the Blueprint to sell-out public housing. Please make sure to register to attend our Zoom conference.

We are keeping a public spreadsheet of the 2021 NYC mayoral candidates’ positions on NYCHA public housing issues. We will provide a summary from the Q&A during our Zoom mayoral forum.

Registration Required

All 2021 NYC mayoral candidates, their team members, and NYCHA public housing residents can register to attend.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : 5 City Council Candidates call on de Blasio to stop RAD conversions at NYCHA during pandemic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACTS :

Anthony Beckford,
VoteforAnthonyBeckford@gmail.com,
(989) 964-8713

Rodrigo Camarena,
Rodrigo@Rodrigo4NYC.com,

Victoria Cambranes,
vcambranes@gmail.com,
(917) 202-8466

Rick Echevarría,
rick@voterick2021.com,
(929) 282-5482

Marni Halasa,
marnihalasa@gmail.com,
(917) 501-9444

FIVE DEMOCRATIC PARTY PRIMARY CANDIDATES FOR CITY COUNCIL CALL ON MAYOR DE BLASIO TO STOP RAD CONVERSIONS AT NYCHA — AND HAND-OVER DECISIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC HOUSING TO THE NEXT MAYOR, THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL

NEW YORK, NY (Nov. 28) — A group of five (5) Democratic Party primary candidates in separate New York City Council races are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) to cease all conversions of New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA“) apartment buildings under HUD’s scheme known as Rental Assistance Demonstration (“RAD“).

City Council Candidates Anthony Beckford (D-District 45), Rodrigo Camarena (D-District 38), Victoria Cambranes (D-District 33), Rick Echevarría (D-District 37), and Marni Halasa (D-District 3) issue the following statements in a joint effort to draw attention to the mayor’s dangerous privatization of public housing.

“The attempt to privatize public housing is violence against the people,” said Beckford, adding that, “The RAD program will displace thousands of families and will eliminate public housing. RAD is a threat to NYCHA residents and must be eliminated.  Private developers and the elected officials who support them are a threat to our communities and must be stopped. We must fully fund and repair NYCHA and provide the services and resources needed for the tenants.”

“Public housing should remain in the public’s hands,” said Camarena, adding that, “The RAD program opens the door for the full privatization of public housing in New York City and aims to absolve our Government from their responsibility to fully-fund and repair NYCHA. Housing is a human right, and it’s up to our Government to secure and protect that right.”

“RAD conversions are a shortsighted privatization scheme that would have NYCHA tenants living within construction sites, breathing in all that dust, paint, and whatever else kicks up,” said Cambranes, adding that, “It’s a proven eviction-machine, and while tenants may enjoy new kitchen upgrades, their rights and protections will deteriorize just as their buildings have for so long.”

“Mayor de Blasio should be ashamed of himself for attempting to privatize public housing that has been public for 100 years, while HUD has an anti-public housing and lame duck Secretary,” said Echevarría, adding that, “There should be no further RAD progress until the new HUD Secretary is confirmed ! At which point, the HUD/NYCHA agreement should be modified to preserve public housing in the long-term without a private option !”

“Hard data shows that RAD is not only an eviction machine, but will end public housing as we know it,” said Halasa, candidate for Council District 3. “What’s sad is that the elected officials on the West Side of Manhattan put public housing tenants through the wringer with their sham working group, a group which operates in secret — in violation of the state’s sunshine laws that demands transparency in the disposition of public assets. At the very least, because of COVID, RAD should be shelved until the next mayor and Councilmembers are elected. That’s the least they could do.”

The pandemic makes it impossible for NYCHA residents to meet, confer, discuss, and understand the RAD legal documents

Amidst the second shut-down of the Coronavirus pandemic, now is not the time to continue with, much less expand, RAD conversions. NYCHA residents have long complained that NYCHA is not providing enough explanations or translations about the RAD conversion legal documents. The conversion process itself has been designed to bum-rush tenants into signing RAD Leases with horrendous clauses and provisions.  NYCHA has proposed Zoom meetings as an inferior substitute for physical meetings, but the Zoom meetings fail to attract robust participation, because residents either don’t have WiFi, computer or smart phone devices, or the skill to make meaningful use of Zoom meetings (as imperfect and limiting as they are). An immediate suspension to all RAD conversions is warranted, and a robust public review of the privatization of NYCHA must take place under the next mayoral administration and the next City Council session — once the pandemic is over.

We Don’t Need RAD to save NYCHA

Many elected officials have pending legislation to save NYCHA (or to make the process to “dispose” of public housing assets more transparent), and it is dishonest to move forward with RAD as the sole solution when other solutions are within reach. For example, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 7) has introduced a bill to fully-fund the capital repairs needed by NYCHA without having to resort to any privatization. Assemblymember Harvey Epstein (D-74th District) co-sponsors legislation to make any disposition of public housing assets subject to the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (“ULURP Process“). Separately, the activist-preservation group, Fight For NYCHA, have argued that money can be found to fully-fund repairs at NYCHA by raising taxes on corporations or the wealthy with ideas featured in their aspirational, People’s Budget.

The candidates make these statements in support of the NYCHA residents currently facing RAD conversion. The candidates join in the fight to keep NYCHA residents in Section 9 public housing and to let those, who have them, keep their portable Section 8 Tenant-Based Vouchers (TBV).

Melanie Aucello, the resident association president at the NYCHA public housing apartment building located at 344 East 28th Street in Manhattan, recently joined Fight For NYCHA as a core member, because her apartment building and 15 other locations face imminent RAD conversion, which is expected to take place on Monday, Nov. 30.

Aucello, civil rights attorney Michael Sussman, and Assemblymember Epstein issued a press release last Tuesday, making a similar demand as the five candidates. A separate letter sent by Sussman to Mayor de Blasio raised objections to clauses or provisions in the proposed RAD Lease Agreement that could pass extra costs to tenants and put tenants at-risk for evictions.

RAD is a bad deal for public housing tenants

In the past, RAD conversions have led to evictions. At the Ocean Bay Apartments in Far Rockaway, Queens, which Mayor de Blasio has described as his “model” for RAD, 80 households were evicted following RAD conversion. Those evictions stemmed from over 300 Housing Court actions filed by the RAD Landlord at Ocean Bay alone in the time following its RAD Conversion.

Because RAD has developed such a bad reputation, the mayor has rebranded RAD under an Orwellian name :  Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (“PACT“) in an effort to confuse tenants about the negative impacts that privatization of public housing holds in their future. Besides RAD/PACT conversions, the mayor plans to seize green spaces, playgrounds, and parking lots for infill development, and he plans to sell air rights above NYCHA developments to real estate developers. He has also shockingly proposed the demolition of public housing apartment buildings in order to rezone the lots under Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (“MIH“) to build 80-20 or 70-30 luxury apartment buildings.

To market RAD, HUD has argued that RAD provides $19 of leverage to every $1 of public housing funds. However, a 2018 review by the National Affordable Housing Management Association (“NAHMA“) revealed that when RAD funding was recalculated to remove Government funding, the leverage ratio falls to $1.23 in private financial funding to every $1 in public housing funds.

In light of the addition of only pennies on the dollar in real margin and as a result of the eviction risks to public housing residents, the above-named City Council candidates and the activist-preservation group Fight For NYCHA are arguing that preserving the status quo until the next mayor has been elected and the next session of the New York City Council has been sworn in (once the pandemic is over) would provide conditions that would lead to more transparency and tenant participation in determining the future of NYCHA public housing.

About Fight For NYCHA

Fight For NYCHA is a collective fighting so NYCHA tenants can self-determine the future of public houisng in New York City. We oppose Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to put one-third of NYCHA into the hands of private landlords. We believe the money exists to save NYCHA. We just have to change our priorities. Learn more about our People’s Budget plan to fully-fund NYCHA : https://fightfornycha.org/peoples-budget/.

Fight For NYCHA is not a political action committee. As a result, it does not endorse candidates, and it makes no financial contributions to campaign committees.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : RAD Landlords can ask HUD to deregulate public housing apartments

RAD Conversion Documents Reveal That A RAD Landlord Can Ask HUD To Deregulate A Per Centage. Of Public Housing Units If A Building Fails To Become Economically Viable, Threatening To Convert Public Housing To Market-Rate Apartments

The public demands a suspension of RAD conversions at NYCHA and call on Bill de Blasio to let the next mayor determine the future of public housing in New York City

(New York, NY, Nov. 24) — Legal agreements being used by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to convert 16 public housing developments owned and operated by the New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) as a bundle under HUD’s controversial scheme known as Rental Assistance Demonstration (“RAD”) give RAD Landlords the ability to ask the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to deregulate formerly public housing apartment units into market-rate apartments should a RAD Landlord fail to make RAD-converted buildings economically viable, records reveal.

See Section 2(c)(v) of the Declaration : https://fightfornycha.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Declaration-of-Restrictive-Covenants-and-Use-Agreement-East-28th-Wise-Towers-D0998451-7xA5BED.docx.

Melanie Aucello, the resident association president at the NYCHA public housing development at 344 East 28th Street in Manhattan, has become a core member of the NYCHA preservation group, Fight For NYCHA. Her building is about to join 15 other public housing developments in a bundle conversion scheduled to be completed by 30 November.

In the past, RAD conversions have led to evictions. At the Ocean Bay Apartments in Far Rockaway, Queens, which Mayor de Blasio has described as his “model” for RAD, 80 households were evicted following RAD conversion. Those evictions stemmed from over 300 Housing Court actions filed by one RAD Landlord at Ocean Bay alone in the time following its RAD Conversion.

See https://citylimits.org/2019/08/14/nycha-evicitons-rad-oceanbay/.

“In the holiday season — and in the middle of a pandemic — I have to ask Mayor de Blasio, ‘Why would you put all of NYCHA residents at-risk for evictions ?’ We demand a stop to RAD,” said Aucello, adding that, “The process you and NYCHA have forced upon us is intentionally designed for the best interests of private sector landlords and their profit. It is unfair to saddle future generations and the next, incoming mayoral administration with the consequences of RAD. It is best left for the next mayor to save NYCHA, not you.”

The civil rights attorney, Michael Sussman, has sent Mayor de Blasio a letter raising important objections about the RAD legal agreements and the new Lease Agreement that public housing residents are being forced to sign.

See : https://fightfornycha.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/20201123_Second_Michael_Sussman_Letter_to_Mayor_Bill_de_Blasio_NYCHA_RAD_Conversions.pdf.

Amongst the issues Sussman has complained to Mayor de Blasio about the new Lease Agreement, include, but are not limited to :

  • There are numerous provisions that permit a RAD Landlord to passthrough costs to public housing residents, many of whom live on low- or fixed-incomes, including the cost of utilities (which are now paid for NYCHA), thus leading to an increase in effective rents ;
  • There is language that gives the RAD Landlord an out in respect of the provision of basic standards of habitability, which should be offensive to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, since Federal prosecutors first began their investigation into NYCHA in 2016 due widepsread violations of physical condition standards ;
  • RAD will eliminate the existence of tenant-based rental assistance vouchers (which are portable) and replace them with project-based rental assistance vouchers (which are not portable). This will make it complicated or nearly impossible for public housing residents to be able to find better or larger apartments, or better locations ; and
  • Tenants have fears that other provisions in the Lease Agreement will make it easier for RAD Landlords to evict residents.

“The ongoing RAD conversions have failed to produce tangible and significant gains for residents of public housing,” said Sussman, adding that, “The lease proposed for residents includes onerous provisions which are financially disadvantageous to existing tenants and give new management increased leverage over their lives. What is needed is a national commitment to supporting those tenants who qualify for public housing without sacrificing their existing status and rights.”

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein (D-74th District), who has sponsored legislation to make formal a legal procedure for the disposition of public housing assets, said, “I stand with tenants at 344 East 28th Street and tenants around New York City to oppose RAD and privatization of public housing ! We need a plan to protect those apartments for generations to come.”

The revelation that HUD can permit the deregulation of public housing apartments, in addition to the many problems note about the Lease Agreement, make RAD wholly unacceptable, say other members of the group, Fight For NYCHA.

# # #

#SDNY close the door on #NYCHA activists seeking last-resort help to stop unlawful #RAD conversions

The U.S. Attorney’s Office oversees the NYCHA Settlement Agreement that was supposed to save NYCHA — not sell it out.

Security guards at the U.S. Attorney’s Office turned away NYCHA activists who had showed up at their doorstep on Wednesday, denying them a requested meeting with Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. The activists included Melanie Aucello, the president of the resident association of the NYCHA public housing apartment building at 344 East 28th Street in Manhattan.

Residents at NYCHA apartment buildings have been being pressured into signing leases with private sector landlords under a neoliberal Federal scheme known as Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD, that has been shown to lead to evictions and other civil rights violations. At one Kips Bay apartment building, where Ms. Aucello lives, the lease signings have been taking place without translated documents for some residents, who only speak foreign languages, and the residents have been denied the benefit of a full review of lease documents by their counsel, Manhattan Legal Services.

Speaking of RAD conversions, Ms. Aucello said, “We demand a moratorium.”

The exchange between the activists and security guards for the U.S. Attorney’s Office became heated at times. “Please don’t turn us away,” Ms. Aucello said. A member of Fight For NYCHA added, “We’ve been turned away and ignored by the Mayor, by Gale Brewer, by everybody. Even AOC threw us under the bus.”

One security guard provided blank complaint forms to Ms. Aucello. Ultimately, the security guards closed their door to the activists.

Is Acting U.S. Attorney Strauss a cold-hearted functionary ?

On Tuesday, the activists were interviewed by WBAI about a protest that took place at the Kips Bay apartment building on Monday. The Kips Bay apartment building is one of 16 apartment complexes that faces almost imminent RAD conversion. In total, Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) plans to put 60,000 public housing apartments into the RAD scheme, dealing a severe blow to the future of Section 9 public housing. So far, many so-called “progressive” groups have refused to express any criticism of Mayor de Blasio’s dangerous bid to end public housing as we know it.